Battle Creek and Kalamazoo area farmers are beginning to promote COVID-19 vaccinations. It’s part of the American Farm Bureau Federation's involvement with the federal government’s  COVID-19 “Community Corps”.

The national Farm Bureau organization had official representatives on hand recently as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services kicked off the government’s program to encourage more people to get vaccinated against the virus.

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Local farmers who are members of the Calhoun and Kalamazoo Farm Bureau organizations are being encouraged to post on social media about the benefits of vaccination. They’re also being asked to tag the HHS department with #WeCanDoThis.

The impact of the virus on local agricultural operations hasn’t received a lot of attention, especially when compared to large businesses with hundreds of employees, or school systems. But farmers have been affected no less than anyone else and certainly no less than other businesses.

Michigan State University’s College of Agriculture & Natural Resources published an extensive report on the issue last fall. It may be the most comprehensive on the virus impact on Michigan farmers to date. In short, the report says the state’s agricultural output was reduced by millions of dollars between March and October of last year. All of that blamed in one fashion or another on COVID-19.

AFBF President Zippy Duvall says the information campaign is critical to the success of America’s rural farm operations. “It is important to Farm Bureau that our farmers and our employees have priority access to the vaccine, given the important role we play on the frontlines of food and supply,” he said. “Now that the vaccine supply is ramping up, we look forward to the next step, which is addressing the barriers to receiving the vaccine and making sure that folks understand that the vaccine is safe and effective.”

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